"How are you? Is everything okay? Are things under control?" It was the first phone call I received in the morning at 7:15 a.m....okay, my mom and I aren't staying together anymore due to a big war in the house. I notice the dynamics around me slowly change with every passing week, but still the degree of articulated concern from my mother is something I haven't really been used to. I have been through enough to deserve this.
Since the reign of Ashoka, I was never the conventional boy as far as my mom was concerned. We went travelling in ladies compartments of local trains till I turned 14, we watched matinee movies together, fought like siblings, I was never the boy to be interested in Maths and Science to which my mom reacted with a shock considering she was a topper in school and I was completely a disaster in academics. I was again not interested in test cricket and my mom was shocked to learn absolutely "couldn't-care-less" attitude towards cricket.
Later, as I kept telling my mother about my crushes and ideas for a perfect date and the ideal match, she just had a peripheral interest in what they were all about considering that my crushes were for people whom I'll never meet in real-life (read film actresses). Her opinions about my crushes rarely went beyond a grunt or a simple hug. To her, it was nothing but a mere distraction and passing phases of teenage life. Since she falls into the old school group, it was something that her "dyscalculic, limited attention span Virgo son" would soon lose interest in.
It's true that she never thought I needed to be 'escorted' for travelling in the crowded buses for reaching school for an early morning lecture. I never even felt the need to be 'escorted' since I could travel all alone in Indian trains, or even fetch me back from the studio after a radio programme that ended at 5:00 a.m. As my grandmother whined about how times had changed and one had to take special care of her grandson , my mother retorted, "He knows what he wants from his life, I wouldn't worry about him."
I guess I am, and I amply demonstrated the fact at the age of sixteen when I took the challenge of travelling alone in an Indian train all the way from Mumbai to Guruvayur. In a very embarrassing incident that happened in Mumbai once, one wannabe weirdo happened to pull my cheeks in the classroom during the break, I picked up the duster to hit him on his forehead and before the teacher arrived and tried to calm me down.
Now, as I waddle into the challenges of facing a new life of reaching college, my mom can't help but helplessly notice how vulnerable I am, mentally, at least... and I can sense that there is a lot more she wants to say and ask, but all she manages is, "How are you?"
I guess it's a big deal for her for being my mother and all of that. More importantly, she realizes that we'll soon be even once college starts. We will soon be like the Prem and Suman of Maine Pyaar Kiya, and that's a bit surreal to deal with.